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Opinions: Clinton rips Trump in first debate

“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.” Margaret Thatcher

By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Fil-Am voter Delia Gatmaitan of Queens did not cook dinner and “we decided to eat what was left in the refrigerator so we won’t miss the debate” last night (September 26) between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton of Democratic Party and Donald Trump of Republican Party.
Gatmaitan, 66, and live-in partner, Raul, 28, a Hispanic immigrant, both Clinton supporters, have been waiting the first presidential debate since August.
Their housemate, another Fil-Am voter, Darcito Bartolome, 70, a Trump supporter, was also glued to his TV set monitoring the event at the Hofstra University in Hempstead on NBC channel, one of the networks that broadcast the “live” debate.
Like many partisan observers, they were divided on who won the first of the series of debates.

CIVILITY

According to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, “Civility went south fast in Monday’s debate.”
She said, “Donald Trump lost his composure early, ranting, interrupting (over 20 times) and sniffing. (Under the weather, or out of his comfort zone?) Hillary Clinton started out soft, playing the grandmother card, but quickly escalated to tough talk and occasional sarcasm. It could hardly have gone otherwise. Clinton hit hard at Trump, bringing up his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, his ‘long record of engaging in racist behavior,’ his denial at having supported the Iraq war, and his refusal to allow the American people to see his tax returns.”
A specialist in 20th-century European history, Ben-Ghiat added: “In doing so, Clinton did Americans a big favor: she revealed Trump’s limitations. He is simply unable to make those leaps of imagination and generosity necessary to transform from a businessperson to a national political leader.”

SMALLNESS

She stressed further: “The candidate who claims to do everything big showed the smallness of his thinking tonight. With his off-key rejoinders, he demonstrated repeatedly how he sees everything — people, properties, cities, and entire countries — in terms of how they factor into his business and personal universe, which seem to be one and the same. I’ll get to Pennsylvania Avenue one way or another, he said tonight, as though the White House and his new Trump hotel are entities of equal importance. Perhaps they really are, in his mind.”
“Clinton alone demonstrated the composure, wisdom, and broad vision necessary for executive office. She won the debate hands down,” she explained.
Activist and television commentator Sally Kohn said “Trump’s train went off the rails.”

TRAIN

Donald Trump’s supporters like to refer to his movement as “The Trump Train.” Well, tonight The Trump Train went off the rails. Big time, Kohn pointed out.
“Admittedly, to many observers, the train was already way off track. Maybe it started the moment his campaign began, when he dismissed Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists.’ Or maybe it was when he attacked Sen. John McCain. Or later, when he attacked a Gold Star family. Certainly, many Americans have paid attention to the media’s attempts at fact checking — including one report that Trump only tells the truth 22% of the time, and another that found in five hours of talking, Trump outright lied an average of every 3 minutes and 15 seconds,” she observed.
Kohn added: “But for those who somehow thought, up until Monday night, that Donald Trump might somehow be qualified to be president, Monday’s debate was a wakeup call. He seemed like a defensive, petulant bully who could only insult Hillary Clinton and America — and couldn’t offer a single solution, let alone details. He came across as not only dreadfully unprepared for the debate, but dreadfully unprepared to be president. Which is the truth. And it’s high time all Americans know it.

BIASED

“But don’t believe me. I’m obviously biased. Believe Frank Luntz. In his live focus group of undecided and leaning voters, just six people thought Trump won while 16 said Clinton was the victor. In moment after moment, the focus group preferred Clinton. For instance, Clinton’s response to Trump’s attack on her stamina scored better than Trump’s attack. And Hillary’s plan to defeat ISIS actually scored better with the Trump leaners in the group than with the Clinton leaners.
“In moment after moment, Hillary Clinton presented a knowledgeable and clear-eyed vision for how to help working families and continue America on the path to security and prosperity. Donald Trump, in contrast, lied, and got defensive. He was petty and insulting, and then lied some more. Lies apparently can only get the Trump train so far. Eventually it runs out of steam.
“Hillary Clinton showed herself to be the kind of person you want in the White House. And Donald Trump showed himself to be the kind of kindergartner who should have his train taken away and instead given a timeout.”

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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How to win an election: Tips from Cicero’s brod

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” Philip K. Dick

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — With election days fast approaching in the Philippines in May and the United States in November this year, we are lucky to have Harvard University’s Dr. Philip Freeman, who translated the text of the Commentariolum Petitionis from Latin to English and included it in the amazing book, “How To Win An Election”, an ancient guide for modern politicians.
For US $3.98 (plus $.35 tax), I was lucky to secure a copy of the book from the Salvation Army in Queens recently. Its unit price was actually $9.95 excluding tax.
Commentariolum Petitionis (“little handbook on electioneering”), also known as De petitione consulatus (“on running for the Consulship”), is an essay supposedly written by Quintus Tullius Cicero, 65-64 BC, as a guide for his brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, in his campaign in 64 to be elected consul of the Roman Republic.
“I have tried to make my translation accessible, colloquial, and as clear as possible to modern readers, while remaining faithful to the sense of the original text,” writes Freeman, who holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

IDEALIST

The book tells us that in 64 BC, when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.
“What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters,” explains Freeman.
Freeman describes it as “unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero wins)–and as relevant today as when it was written.”
Like Machiavelli’s Prince, this short treatise provides timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power.
Idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother–and all of us–how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really works.

PRICELESS

Freeman says the letter is full of priceless advice for modern candidates, but some of the choicest gems are:
1. Make sure you have the backing of your family and friends. Loyalty begins at home. If your spouse and children aren’t behind you, not only will you have a hard time winning but it will look bad to voters. And as Quintus warns Marcus, the most destructive rumors about a candidate begin among closest to him.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. Build a talented staff you can trust. You can’t be everywhere at once, so find those who will represent you as if they were trying to be elected themselves.
3. Call in all favors. It’s time to gently (or not so gently) remind everyone you have ever helped that they owe you. If someone isn’t under obligation to you, let them know that their support now will put you in their debt in the future. And as an elected official, you will be well placed to help them in their time of need.
4. Build a wide base of support. For Marcus Cicero this meant appealing primarily to the traditional power brokers both in the Roman Senate and the wealthy business community–no easy task since groups were often at odds with each other. But Quintus urges his brother as an outsider in the political game to go further and win over the various special interest groups, local organizations, and rural populations ignored by other candidates. Young voters should be courted as well, along with anyone else who might be of use. As Quintus notes, even people no decent person would associate with in normal life should become the closest of friends during a campaign if they can help get you elected. Restricting yourself to a narrow base of support guarantees failure.
5. Promise everything to everybody. Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been on their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts’ desire than he backs out later.
6. Communication skills are key. In ancient Rome the art of public speaking was studied diligently by all men who aspired to political careers. In spite of the new and varied forms of media today, a poor communicator is still unlikely to win an election.
7. Don’t leave town. In Marcus Cicero’s day this meant sticking close to Rome. For modern politicians it means being on the ground pressing the flesh wherever the key voters are at a particular moment. There is no such thing as a day off for a serious candidate. You can take a vacation after you win.
8. Know the weakness of your opponents–and exploit them. Just as Quintus takes a hard look at those running against his brother, all candidates should do an honest inventory of both the vulnerabilities and strengths of their rivals. Winning candidates do their best to distract voters from any positive aspects of their opponents possess by emphasizing the negatives. Rumors of corruption are prime fodder. Sex scandals are even better.
9. Flatter voters shamelessly. Marcus Cicero was always courteous, but he could be formal and distant. Quintus warns him that he needs to warm up to voters. Look them in the eye, pat them on the back, and tell them they matter. Make voters believe you genuinely care about them.
10. Give people hope. Even the most cynical voters want to believe in someone. Give the people a sense that you can make their world better and they will become your most devoted followers–at least until after the election, when you will inevitably let them down. But by then it won’t matter because you will have already won.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in EDUCATION, ELECTION, HISTORY

 

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Possible bedfellows: Roxas-Clinton, Duterte-Trump, Poe or Binay-Clinton

“Perfect partners don’t exist. Perfect conditions exist for a limited time in which partnerships express themselves best.”  Wayne Rooney
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — There should be no more false hopes for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders as the number of Democratic open primaries is getting smaller, with Sec. Hillary Clinton must now win only 33 percent of remaining delegates to hit the 2,383 magic number as of April 6.
In order to oust Clinton, Sanders must win 67 percent of the remaining delegates.
Clinton now has 1,728 against Sanders’ 1,058 (this is the latest count even after Sanders clobbered Clinton in Wisconsin, 57 percent-43 percent).
With the next primary heading to New York (April 19), Clinton’s home state, the prospect has become dimmer for Sanders.
Assuming that Clinton clinches the Democratic presidential slot, pollsters have predicted she could put away either Donald Trump (753 delegates) or Ted Cruz (514) of Republican party in the November general election.
SUPPORT
With full support from President Noynoy Aquino, Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party could pull the rug from under PDP Laban’s Rodrigo Duterte, Nationalist People’s Coalition’s Grace Poe, and United Nationalist Alliance’s Jejomar Binay.
Because of health problems, Miriam Defensor-Santiago has fallen by the wayside and isn’t anymore expected to put up a good fight with barely five weeks to go.
Assuming that Roxas will win on May 9, 2016 and Clinton becomes president after the November 8, 2016 general election, they can work together harmoniously as both the Liberal and Democratic parties almost share the same political ideology and philosophy.
Although LP distances itself from the political extremes on the left and right, it can tune in with the Democrat’s modern liberalism.
LANDSCAPE
If Duterte will make it and Trump will upset Clinton, the political landscape will change drastically as both gentlemen are known tough guys determined to wield iron hands to govern their nations.
Duterte has vowed to wipe out criminal elements and feed them to the fishes in the Manila Bay, while Trump has promised to build a wall to prevent Hispanic illegals from crossing the US-Mexico border; round up and yank out overstaying aliens.
Duterte’s PDP Laban democratic centrist socialism
and consultative and participative democracy principles will have to sit well with Trump’s Republican American conservatism.
SMOOTH
Poe’s NPC can work smoothly with the Republican as it is also a conservative party.
Since it is in the right wing, Binay’s UNA can engage in a romance with both the Democrat and Republican parties as it also embraces the ideology of conservatism, Filipino nationalism, social conservatism, and populism.
This means that a Binay victory in the Philippines and a Clinton or Trump victory in the United States can’t be a case of a round hole in a square peg.
 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Miriam and Hillary: perfect match

“Some leaders are born women.” Geraldine Ferraro

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago becomes Philippine president and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes US president this year, it will mark the first time that two lady presidents will lord over since the two countries signed the Treaty of General Relation on July 4, 1946.
The treaty relinquished American sovereignty over the archipelago following the end of World War II and the Philippines was recognized as an independent state.
It paved the way for the Philippine-American Friendship Day, which the Filipinos celebrate every 4th of July.
Like the late president Ferdinand Marcos, Santiago does not read her speech.
The Filipinos were so proud when Marcos spoke extemporaneously or without any prepared speech during a 1982 state visit in Washington D.C. after then President Ronald Reagan finished reading his prepared speech in a White House ceremony.

PERFECT

Older by two years, the 70-year-old Santiago would be Clinton’s perfect counterpart in the Asia-Pacific as they are both members of the legal profession, and have deeper understanding of diplomatic relations and international law.
It would be a dream match to watch the two articulate and brilliant female leaders discuss issues in the age of technology and social media.
The summit meetings and state visits would no longer be boring.
There is also interesting comparison between their respective husbands.
While former president Bill was rumored to be a womanizer (who can forget the Monica Lewinsky scandal?), former DILG Undersecretary Narciso was rumored to be a gambler (cockfighting).

DELEGATES

But while Clinton is almost a cinch away from clinching the presidency in November (she is very much ahead in the number of delegates against Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and is favored based on various surveys to whip would-be Republican bet Donald Trump in the national contest), Santiago has not been doing well in surveys.
Her campaign has suffered a major snag due to health problems.
On the other hand, if Grace Poe wins in the May polls and Clinton clinches the US presidency, she may not be able to match Clinton’s intellectual savvy and prowess; but, nevertheless, Poe will also make history like Santiago.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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